On Thursday we were notified by NCC (who manage the Urban Baboon Programme for the City of Cape Town), of a baboon named Tabitha who was found sitting against a fence in Kommetjie, foaming at the mouth.
They managed to get her into a trap and brought her through to our animal hospital where she was sedated and examined by one of our resident veterinarians.
Photo below supplied by NCC
Our veterinarian found Tabitha to be “severely collapsed and non-responsive and her mucous membranes were slightly cyanotic”.
After sedation, the veterinarian found a puncture wound on the right hand side of her abdomen which he suspected had punctured her abdominal cavity. Externally some fatty tissue could be seen and a finger could easily be passed through the hole, confirming the suspected perforation.
X-Rays taken of Tabitha’s abdomen showed four pellets from a pellet gun distributed throughout her body and signs of free air in her abdominal cavity was also evident. There was also a large area of bruising.
What Can you do to help?
Please report cruelty to baboons to our Inspectorate by calling 021 700 4158/9 or 083 326 1604 – your details will be kept confidential. Reports can also be made online here
If baboons pose a threat to you or your home, please call the NCC baboon hotline 071 588 6540 for assistance.
It was suspected that Tabitha had developed peritonitis (infection of the abdominal cavity). In all likelihood, caused by the perforating pellet fired from a pellet gun.
Her prognosis was poor and it was our Vet’s qualified opinion that attempting treatment would only prolong unnecessary suffering. Tabitha was humanely euthanised.
We often find pellets in the baboons we treat and x-ray. It is extremely cruel and many baboons suffer as a result of pellets left in situ. Some like Tabitha will die as a result of complications.
Head Veterinarian at the Cape of Good Hope SPCA, Dr Esté Spies says “Unfortunately almost all the baboons that we x-ray have multiple pellets in different areas of the body, some of them have been there for a very long time and the entry wounds and associated damage has already healed. This is a sad finding on most baboons we radiograph because it just shows you the amount of persecution these animals face in their daily lives, due to increasing human-wildlife conflict. The shot itself is very painful and the wounds can become infected. The pellets can also cause major suffering, either in the short or long-term, depending on the amount of damage they cause and if they penetrate a vital organ eg. spine, artery, abdominal organ (intestine/stomach as in this case) or heart or lungs”.
We are calling on animal lovers to please report instances where baboons are being treated cruelly and ask anyone with any information on Tabitha’s case specifically to come forward. Please call 0217004158/9 during office hours or 0833261604 afterhours, report cruelty to animals online here or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org. Reports can be made anonymously. Please remember that the SPCA can only prosecute when we have concrete evidence including; affidavits from eye-witnesses, photos, video footage etc.
What does The Law Say?
The Animals Protection Act No. 71 of 1962
Any person found guilty of contraventions can be sentenced to a maximum fine of R40,000 and/or 12 months imprisonment with a criminal record.
Nature Conservation Ordinance No.19 of 1974 applies.
The above defines “hunt” in relation to any wild animal means by any means whatsoever to hunt or search for, to kill, capture or attempt to kill or capture, or to pursue, follow or drive with intent to kill or capture, or to shoot at, poison, lie in wait for or willfully disturb
Contraventions attract penalties of a fine not exceeding R10 000 or imprisonment for a period not exceeding 2 years or both.